« SebelumnyaLanjutkan »
Resolutions against it, to an utter abandoning and forsaking of it, abstaining not only from all sorts, but as far as 'tis poffible, from all appearance of evil, i Thef. 5. 22. In like manner those Bowels of Mercy and Kindness, which we put on at this time, are to entender our Nature for ever, and to produce in us such large and generous Affections, as may extend, not only to our Brethren and Friends, and to the Family of Christ, but to the whole Offspring of Adam ; to whom we are so to open our Compassions, that such as are within our reach' may participate, those of our Bread, those of our Instructie ons, all of our good Wishes and Prayers, in imitation of that most blessed Pattern and Idea of Charity, who went about doing Good, Heb. 10. 38. Briefly, all other Spiritual Graces, as Humility, Meekness, Patience, Self-denial, Heavenly-mindedness
, and the like, wherewith our Souls are to be arrayed and adorned at this Solemnity; if we consider the tendency of them, they are so many* initial Virçues, to be improved and heightned still by the continual practice of them; so that from Ads they may turn into Dispositions, and from Dispositions may grow into Habits, which will quite change, purifie, and raise our Nature, till we all come in the Unity of the Faith, and of the Knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfe&t Man, .urto the measure of the Stature of the fulness of Christ, Ephes
. 4. 13: I have the more particularly insisted upon this, to fhew you the necessity of your Watchfulness and Industry after this blessed Solemnity is over. You must not, by any means, sit down presently, as if the work of the Day, and the bufiness of your Souls were quite done. You must ever bear it in your minds, that Christianity requires a life of Dirtue : You must carry a fteddy Eye upon the Scope and Design of our Holy Religion; and employ all your utmost endeavours in the vigorous pursuit of its noble End. Brethren (faith the Apostle) I count not my. Self ta have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are' behind, and reaching forth unto those things wich are before
. ; I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus, Phil. 3. 13, 14. And, as it follows there, Let us, as many as be perfect, be thus minded; till running and stretching as hard as we can, towards the end of our Faith and Hope, by an earnest pursuit of what foeve things are true, whatsoever things are bonest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are love
ly, port, Phil.
ly, and whatsoever things are of good Res
8. Remember, I beseech you, that this and other instituted Ordinances, though they bring great Peace and Comfort to pious Souls by the present Administration of them, they are still instrumental Helps to carry on the main Purpose and Will of God, even our Sanctification. So that if we do not use this Ordinance, as an Instrument of improving and perfecting Holiness, and as a Means pursuant thereunto; whatever Relish and Pleasure it carries with it for the present, it will not avail us as to the main
FOR the benefits which are conveyed to all well-disposed Hearts by this Sacrament are, not only the enlivening Influ, ences of Christ's Spirit, called Christ's Spiritual - Body and Blood,. (because they flow, and are derived from him, as he is the Head of his Church, and the Disposer of all those Blessings which are the Fruits of his Intercession ;) but moreover the Pardon of Sin past, and a Title to an happy Resurrection, and Eternal life to come. Now as the First of these, the Influences of Christ's Spirit are intended to transform us into the Image of God, and to con-naturalize our Spirits to the Nature of God; fo are the latter, the Ef.
fects of his pure Love and Goodness, whereby he rewards those that resemble him by a similitude of Nature. I speak now, not of God's general love of Benevolence, which moves him to do good to us as we are meerly his Creatures, without any regard had to our probity, or improbity ; in which fence he is said to have loved the World, Joh. 3. 16. But of that particular Love, whích Divines call Love of Friendship and complacency, the formal Object whereof, is Righteous. ness, or a Rectitude of Nature conforma ble in a great measure to his own, as the Psalmist tells us, PS: 11.7. The Righteous Lord loveth Righteousness, his Countenance doth behold the upright. This is a ray of his own Glory; and the Correspondence thereof to his own Divine Perfections is the true Ground and Reason of that especial Love he bears to some more than he bears to others; because it is impossible but he must love the Image of himself where ever he finds it, and as impossible for him to love any Man without it, so as to be pleased and delighted with the Object : And accordingly, the more or less this Image doth resemble him, the greater or less are the Degrees and Measures of his Love. The Reason therefore of this Love being drawn from
that Godlike Frame and Disposition of Mind, which is wrought in Men by the gracious Energy of Gods Spirit, anditheir own kindly compliance with his Opera. tions, 'tis a fenceless thing to depend opon those effects of his Love, which I have now mentioned, Forgiveness of Sin, and a Title to Everlasting Happiness ; unless we be in some measure Holy, Just, and Goud, as the ever-blefied God is; these being Perfections which he loves, because they are his own. Hence it appears, that though we go to the blessed Sacrament with
Religious and Devout Minds, yet if we go not on to answer the great End of Christianity, the bare Reception of it can never be enough to answer our own ex: pectations ; because it is a Relative Or: dinance that looks forward upon a Chri stian Life; for the leading whereof, this Mystery lays all possible Obligations up on us, and takes all poffible Securities at our hands here at the Altar of God. odi
THIS being cleared, give me leave now to recommend unto you these fol. lowing Directions, that you may not receive this Sacrament, and the Grace of God in vain, but may, in one sense, as the Founder of this Ordinance did in 2• nother, see of the Travel of your Souls, and be satisfied.